Our Grandmother

By Kari Gunter-Seymour

twisted silver-streaked strands
into a knot, pinned at the tip of her crown,
draped her bird-bones in crossback aprons
cut from calico, sewn on a pump pedal Singer,
bought brand-new just after the war,

baked flaky scratch biscuits from
White Lily flour, spoonfuls
of lard, a pinch of salt and sass,
danced the flatfoot clog around
an old wringer washer,
employed on Mondays without fail,

wielded a scythe and hoe
good as any man, grew cabbages
big as watermelons,
drew us maps, where we came from,
patchworks of bloodroot, furled fierce
along the face of the Appalachians,

orphaned us, laid out
under a pine branch blanket,
a rough-chiseled stone.
Daffodils regretted their unfurling.
Redbuds wept purple pearls,
the fields so bare they grew voices.

Kari Gunter-Seymour is a ninth generation Appalachian, the Poet Laureate of Ohio, and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Her collections include Alone in the House of My Heart (Swallow Press, 2022) and A Place So Deep Inside America It Can’t Be Seen (Sheila Na Gig Editions, 2020), winner of the 2020 Ohio Poet of the Year Award. Her work has been featured on Verse Daily, and in World Literature Today and The New York Times.

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